Author Archives: scissorcircus

PREVIEW: 57th Season Arrives Early

Q: What do dead people (as in zombies), pornography, mortgage foreclosures, genetically modified food, and strawberry jam have in common?

A: The longest running film festival in the US, the 57th Columbus International Film + Video Festival. Beginning with three “Early Bird” screenings in October the festival kicks off an amazingly diverse spread of films “you can’t see anywhere else”.

Check out our updated events page!

On October 15th at 6.30 pm at Studio 35 the Festival starts off with a bang with a screening co sponsored by Population Connection and the Ohio Sierra Club. Not Yet Rain is a powerful film about women’s access to family planning services and the recent legalization (but not necessarily available) of abortion procedures. Director Lisa Russell will be there to chat with at a reception after the film. On October 20th at 7 pm, also at Studio 35 the Festival presents Strong Coffee: The Story of Café Feminino. Shot mostly in Peru, Strong Coffee tells the amazing story of the women farmers who grow this high quality, certified organic, fair trade coffee. Closer to home is the October 27th 7.30 pm screening of We All Fall Down shot Ohio covers the American mortgage crises and its effect on the poor to middle-class sectors of the United States.

In November, from the 10th to the 15th the festival is showing Scientists Under Attack a German film about genetically modified food and corporate sponsored research (at Germania 11/10 at 8 pm), My Son, The Pornographer a film about a father’s visit to Prague, where his son directs porn movies (Arena Grand 11/11 at 7 pm), and on Thursday November 12 an evening of Award Winning Student Works (CCAD Canzani Center at 8pm). Friday the 13th means zombies of course, with Zombies: When the Dead Walk (CCAD Canzani Center at 8pm). Dress as a zombie and get in free! Saturday morning is for kids of all ages with Saturday Morning Cartoons From Around The World (CCAD Canzani Center at 10am). Children get in free.

Saturday evening is for grown ups with An Evening of Movies + Mead with Animation 4 Adults 2, cartoons for adults that includes hometown’s Jennifer Deafenbaugh’s Strawberry Jam. Stay for the award ceremony after the films and get a chance to meet the filmmakers. The festival wraps on Sunday with two very different screenings, The Magistical, a feature length animated film for kids (Drexel 1 pm) and closes with the Best of Festival winner One Water, (CCAD Canzani Center at 7pm), a stunning documentary that highlights a world where water is exquisitely abundant in some places and dangerously lacking in others, where taps flowing with fresh, clean water are contrasted with toxic, polluted waterways that have turned the blue arteries of our planet murky.

Most screenings are $5, some are free, CCAD screenings are free for CCAD students. For more information go to www.chrisawards.org.

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Not Yet Rain – Thursday Oct. 15

The 57th Columbus International Film + Video Festival

Early Bird Screenings: (Festival|Events)

Not Yet Rain ~ Thursday Oct. 15  [at Studio35w/director, Lisa Russell in person!

6:30pm – 8:30pm
Studio 35 Cinema & Draft House
(here)
3055 Indianola Ave, Columbus, OH

Join us after the film for a reception
with the director, Lisa Russell!

Not Yet Rain, a short film by Lisa Russell,
is a powerful film charting the course
of reproductive freedom in Ethiopia,
told through the voices of women who
have faced the challenge of finding safe
health care. Through their stories, we see
the important role that safe health care
plays in the overall wellbeing of women
and their families.
www.notyetrain.org/

FREE Admission!
This screening is co-sponsored by Population Connection and the Central Ohio Sierra Club.

Please check out our Festival Events page for continued updates and a running list of events.

Children Of Armageddon, Tuesday Sept 22

Children Of Armageddon

a film by FABIENNE LIPS-DUMAS

SCREENING: Tuesday Sept 22, at the Drexel Theater, 2254 E. Main st., Bexley

CHILDREN OF ARMAGEDDON(watch trailer) digs back into the contaminated soil of the nuclear argument.

Read Our Full Review
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With the reality of a nuclear threat more and more present – especially because of recent U.S. politics. Maki, the granddaughter of a Hiroshima bombing survivor, strives to keep the memory of the horror alive so that history is not repeated.

Nuclear explosives testing, while conducted in secret and silence on the world stage, continues to bear witness to a particular human ability to put itself at risk.

Sponsored by the Free Press, Drexel Theater and the Central Ohio Green Education Fund Film. Admission is free, donations accepted. 253-2571, truth@freepress.org.

A Powerful Noise – Drexel Screening Tuesday August 25th!

A Powerful Noise at the Drexel tomorrow, Tuesday the 25th at 7:30pm

The sun has come out for a momentary “good afternoon,” and August in Ohio seems inordinately cool & comfortable. Its been a few months since the last Festival/Free Press event, so we are all looking forward seeing you at the Drexel Theater, Tuesday evening, for this late summer shindig.

The drexel is blocks away from fresh sushi, an irish pub, and the spectacular Jeni’s ice cream in Bexley! Call it the last screening of summer vacation, mothers bring your daughters! Fathers, sons, brother’s and sisters make an evening of it.

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Many films emphasize the glaring differences between developing and developed nations, creating an “us/them” perspective that minimizes the relevance to Western audiences. However, this documentary captivates viewers because it speaks to the common aspirations, the common abilities that all women share. “A Powerful Noise” is a meditation on the inherent potential of women to change the world. “A Powerful Noise”. The impact of one voice. The power of many.

Please consider joining us tomorrow evening for a powerful film, with powerful consequences.

Film reviewed by Roger Landes, here.

Plus… whats not to love when Admission is free!

Review: A Powerful Noise

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Putting the Power in A Powerful Noise

By Roger Landes 

A Powerful Noise asks nothing from its viewers.  At least, not directly.  It’s not that kind of documentary.  To put it quite simply, it doesn’t need to be. 

Sure, it’s an activist film with a strong feminist message, but not once will it demand anything from you.  But that is not to say it isn’t affecting.  Hell it’s inspiring.  The inspiration of the film comes not from a manipulative director, but from the characters presented.  This is where the brilliance of the film is found.

The film follows three women with backgrounds as different as their locations.  Hanh is a HIV-positive widow from Vietnam.  Nada is survivor of the Bosnian war.  Lastly, the wonderful Madame Urbain is a social activist in Bamako, the largest city in one of the poorest countries, Mali. 

Although these women at first glance have little in common, their struggle is the same: they must reform the societies that seem to have no interest in changing.  The film chronicles their hardships, and successes.

Hanh works in Vietnam to combat the growing number of HIV/AIDS in Vietnam.  The disease is spreading at the same rate as the amount of heroin use in the country.  Hanh’s husband transferred to her the disease which was spread to her young daughter, who died not a year after contracting the disease. 

Hanh now tackles the difficult task of educating the public on safe sex and not sharing needles.  Hanh passes out condoms and literature to locals and gives speeches to the masses.  This is particularly difficult in her home country, as its society has intense social stigmas on the disease.  As much as she tries, she is met with great difficulty from factory owners who refuse to let her speak to the workers. 

Hanh also sets up support groups for those affected by the disease.  The film does a remarkable job at showing the shame, fear, and hope found in the people of Vietnam.

The Bosnian War is arguably the most misunderstood travesty of the past 30 years.  The war occurred due to the clashing cultures of the Bosniaks and the Serbians.  In the aftermath of the war, the people found their economy completely destroyed, over a million people displaced, and over 50% unemployed. 

Nada is a survivor of the war who works to help local farmers to find a place to sell their crops.  Without an economy of imports and exports, farmers have no place to sell their goods.  Nada helps to create co-ops and connect families in order to collect their stocks and sell them.  She struggles with the still fallen economy, and remaining clashes between the two cultures.  She flows freely around both the Bosniak people and the Serbs.

Of the three women, Madame Urbain shines as not only the most moving, but entertaining as well.  Mme. Urbain is a social worker in the West African country of Mali.  The countries immense poverty reaches out to the villages, where men and woman have no ability to get any form of education. 

The only option for many girls is to move to the countries biggest city, Bamako, in order to find work.  But, without any education or skills the only option for them is to become domestic servants.  Mme. Urbain works to end this practice.  She has offices that work to take protect these domestic servants, making sure that their employees don’t take advantage of them and pay them properly. 

Mme. Urbain works foremost to set up schools and encourage the education of young women. “To educate a woman is to educate a village is to educate a nation.” 

But she is met with resistance, especially from the male villagers, as the society maintains its emrace on women’s past subserviant role.  Mme. Urbain knows the great weight on her shoulders, but she accepts it with grace and humility, even when confronted with difficulties.

The truly inspirational part of the film: with so much resistance and so many hardships, where can these women find hope?  The film shows us, three women with no place in society, yet they reached out and claimed a place for their own.

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(Trailer)

SCREENING:

A Powerful Noise screens on Tuesday August 25, at The Drexel Theater, 7:30 – 9:00pm.

This screening is co-sponsored by the Free Press. Admission is free. Donations accepted.

This is the first contribution to OH! Film by guest blogger and CIF+VF volunteer Roger Landes. Without the generous support of people like Roger, the reach of the CIF+VF and OH! Film would be severly stunted.

Matt Meindl, Films Made By Hand

MM_Banner

A returning Festival juror, this year for the Animation division, Matt Meindl in his own words is a kind of “hodgepodge filmmaker.”

Matt’s films are self-conscious and quirky, often including the filmmaker himself through image, voice, or narrative. Matt and I each returned to our hometown of Columbus a few years ago, and met one another shortly thereafter.

As a part of an ongoing attempt at highlighting the talented personalities behind the Columbus International Film + Video Festival, I conducted this recent interview via email.

———————————————–

Daniel King: Tell us a little bit about yourself, and what you’re currently doing.

Matt Meindl: Well, I’m very tall which makes it hard to find pants. When I was a teenager I started making monster movies with friends and eventually ended up at the University of Toledo, in the film/video program. The films I saw there by Chel White, Ann Marie Fleming and others really changed my idea of what a film could be and I began pushing myself to make work that was more personal and intricate.

I moved back to Columbus after graduating and have pretty much continued on that track. I’m currently trying to finish an experimental super 8 film that I’ve been shooting off and on for something like 5 years now called Inside Out/Side One. It’s a big nostalgic chunk of images and bits that are both old-timey and infinite. I’m trying to see how far I can take collage-style animation before I get bored with it. I’m also writing a new film about a regretful mummy.

Still from "Digital Underpants," by Matt Meindl (linked to streaming video)

Still from "Digital Underpants," by Matt Meindl (linked to streaming video)

DK: Your films blend a variety of visual languages, like stop motion 
animation, still images and eclectic film stock. Years ago, these 
were hallmarks of low budget filmmaking… but today it seems digital video is more economical than ever. What appeals to you about these practices?

MM: Yeah, I’m kind of a hodgepodge filmmaker. I’m always trying out different techniques and creating my own hybridized methods for animation, editing etc. The processes can be pretty tedious and shooting on 16mm and super 8 [film] may seem archaic but I think there is a certain look/feel/energy that is harder to achieve with digital media. Video is swell and cheap and practical but it’s also becoming more and more automated — which means that the results sometimes have less personality. But I’m not a total film purist; I shot Digital Underpants on HDV and I have all my film transferred to video for editing now.

So I sort of exploit what I like about both formats. I think it’s foolish to outright dismiss one or the other. People keep telling me that super 8 is disappearing but Kodak keeps releasing new stocks. In fact, there are more super 8 film stocks available now than in the 1970’s when the format was in its heyday!

DK: Recently you performed a live soundtrack to your film Mumble-Baby. That film strikes me as playful, but deeply personal… almost secretive. Can you tell me a bit about the imagery?

MM: Some of the imagery, especially the saturated sunset, was inspired by Richard Wright’s book “Uncle Tom’s Children” which I was reading at the time. Mumble-Baby was a student film that I made while I was both falling in love and listening to lots of prewar blues. So yeah, love and blues… two things that are emotionally resonant but also mysterious and elusive.

In the film, the wandering bluesman is always silhouetted in the distance, out of reach. You can never really get a handle on the blues because the world it grew out of is all but gone, which I guess makes it easy to romanticize. And love is even more intangible.

Still from "Mumble Baby," Matt Meindl

Still from "Mumble Baby," Matt Meindl

I think the playful aspects of the film come from using an optical printer to do the visual effects. Optical printing is an inexact science at best but can be great for experimentation.

I tried all kinds of techniques including multiple-exposure, bi-packing the film, re-photographing at different frame rates and blowing up super 8 to 16mm. I like to perform live music with it now because my singing on the original soundtrack is sort of embarrassing.

DK: Talk to me about where your recent film, T-Shirt of Me, comes from.

MM: T-shirt of Me is a super 8 comedy short with a pretty simple premise: what to do when someone gives you a t-shirt with a picture of your own face on it. It’s the idea that a lot of embarrassment and some grim social implications can arise from a silly novelty gift. Such a thing has never happened to me exactly but I have been in plenty of awkward situations that I over-analyzed to the point of ridiculousness, much like the main character (played by Natalie Lloyd) does.

The story came from Lyn Elliot, who teaches film at Penn State. We’d never met but I had seen her shorts at film festivals and thought they were uniquely funny. I read somewhere that she was interested in writing for other people so I contacted her, thinking we’d be a good creative match.

She emailed me the story and I wrote the screenplay from that so it was sort of a correspondence collaboration. I also showed Lyn an early version of the film and she suggested several cuts be made which improved things greatly.

T-shirt of Me recently screened at the Wexner Center for the Arts, the Boston Underground Film Festival and got an Honorable Mention at The United States Super 8 + Digital Video Festival.

DK: Do you know if Lyn saw any of your short films before writing the story? The subject seems well suited to your visual language.

MM: I mailed her a DVD with a few of my films so that she could decide if I was someone she wanted to work with. She hadn’t previously seen any of my shorts. And yeah, there is definitely a similar sensibility in our work. We both find humor in the mundane.

“Filmmaking used to feel like an imaginary friend but now it’s more like a Siamese twin.” – Matt Meindl

DK: If I handed you a million dollars today, how would you spend it?

MM: I ate lunch with Peter Kubelka once when he visited UT and he told me very politely, “You cannot earn a living making experimental films.” I put down my sandwich.

Kubelka is a significant avant-garde filmmaker whose work is preserved in the Library of Congress and even he has a hard time paying the bills.

So I have no grand illusions about making much money at this. I’m beginning to apply for grants and residencies but I’ll keep making films the way I want regardless ‘cause it’s too much fun and I’ve got lots to learn still. Filmmaking used to feel like an imaginary friend but now it’s more like a Siamese twin. Also, if you gave me a million dollars I’d take you out to Red Lobster. My treat.

DK: What have you seen in terms of the local film production community in Columbus?

MM: I can’t tell if Columbus’ film culture is expanding or if I’m just getting out more, but it does seem like there is a fair amount of new work being made and screened here. There are people making professional-quality (at least technically) shorts and features, trying to compete in the global film market. There are folks creating video art, installations and experimental work. I fall somewhere in between the two. In fact, I do a lot of my shooting alone in my apartment, hunched over my rickety animation stand. I think that sorta keeps me on the fringe of things, for better or worse.

My friend Sean McHenry is someone I like working with. I’m also a fan of Stacie Sells and Cassie Troyan who you recently interviewed.

There are other interesting people with fine arts backgrounds who are getting into filmmaking now and doing cool things. I’d like to believe that there is at least some degree of mutual respect among all of these folks as we’re all fighting a lot of the same battles for creation and community support.

DK: Filmmaking is often a highly collaborative process, requiring many hands to make short work of a huge multi-spindled beast. You’re willing to go it alone. Can you talk to me about the creative benefits of working alone in your studio?

MM: Films like Digital Underpants and Inside Out/Side One were made with no script or structure in mind. I was just going on feeling and instinct. And as I filmed I began to see a movie forming and tried to follow it to a satisfying end. Working off-the-cuff like that is much easier to do alone.

I can just start and stop when I want, shoot more weeks or months later when ideas come, work weird hours or holidays etc. It’s not that unusual, really. I think a lot of experimental filmmakers tend to be fairly autonomous.

Now, for scripted narratives like T-shirt of Me I do assemble a cast and crew because that’s a different kind of production process where you very much need lots of extra hands and brains. Those shoots tend to be more memorable ’cause of the friendships that develop and the creative energy that everyone drums up. And sometimes there’s catering.

DK: What keeps you creatively motivated when the energy runs low, or the money runs out?

MM: If I’m feeling low or lazy I might work on some element of a film that’s just busy-work like cutting out pictures or digitizing footage. That way I can still get a little something done each day. Working by myself on animated stuff is actually a great way to keep from going broke because it’s such a slow process and there’s so much for me to do that I can barely shoot more than a roll or two a month. So my expenses get spread out over several months or more. I do have to be careful though ’cause I pay for everything outta my own pocket.

Screenings & More:

T-shirt of Me will be screening at the Brooklyn Lyceum on July 10th as part of a Flicker NYC show (Flicker NYC)

Digital Underpants will be included in the Journal of Short Film, Volume 15 which is produced locally, available now, and includes works from 6 other filmmakers from around the world. (Journal of Short Filmhttp://www.thejsf.org/) (PS dear readers, an interview with its publisher coming soon!)

Matt’s MySpace filmmaker page: Updated list of screenings, DVD’s for sale, or watch selections of his shorts.

You won’t regret supporting a local filmmaker by picking up Matt’s DVD of T-Shirt of Me & Digital Underpants (in much higher, crystal clear resolution than the myspace versions) thru his Myspace page.

FACEBOOK – Befriend Matt at Facebook.com/optyprinty

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July Screening: Sense of Wonder


Screening: Tuesday, July 28, 2009
7:30pm – 9:00pm
Drexel East, 2254 E Main St, Bexley, OH
[map]

(RSVP on Facebook)

A quiet portrait of Rachel Carson:

“patron saint” of green-movement and author of Sense of Spring

The film is an intimate and poignant reflection of Carson’s life as she emerges as America’s most successful advocate for the natural world. A Sense of Wonder was shot in HD by Oscar-winning cinematographer Haskell Wexler at Carson’s cottage on the coast of Maine. Rachel Carson has been called the “patron saint” of the modern environmental movement. The Atlantic has listed her as one of the 40 most influential figures in American history. Praising Carson and her work, Al Gore wrote that, “without [Silent Spring], the environmental movement might have been long delayed or never developed at all.”

“Only within the moment of time represented by the present century has one species — man — acquired significant power to alter the nature of his world.” — Rachel Carson

Admission is free, donations accepted.